General Updates


We've had a number of customers over the past year building their very own BB-8 astromech droid. One of the more popular designs for the internal drive mechanism comes from We have had a number of other people inquiring about the design, but who haven't had the complete design ready for our online quoting and ordering system. So with Ed's permission, we've added all of the drive parts as a single design to our Astromech Droid Parts page.

If you are building a BB-8 style droid, be sure to review Ed's BB-8 Build Guide. You should also stop by the BB-8 Builders Club and review the forum thread on building based on Ed's design.

Ed has a lot of other interesting projects and information for makers on his website as well. I was especially impressed by his system for hardware and wire organization.

You can see in the video below how the whole thing comes together.

Check out all of the Astromech part designs on the Astromech example parts page. And if you're building your own droid with parts from Big Blue Saw, be sure to let us know!

Starting Monday, November 7, Big Blue Saw is having a sale on stainless steel parts made from your designs. During the sale, all 304 stainless steel parts parts in 0.25 inch and 0.12 inch thickness ordered through our online quoting and ordering system will automatically receive a quantity discount. The sale ends on Wednesday, November 9.

Big Blue Saw's waterjet cutting process can turn your ideas into real stainless steel parts. If you've never ordered from Big Blue Saw before, this is a great time to try out our service.

Stainless steel number 7, custom waterjet cut with simulated bevel.

If you're making a a sign, control panel, or anything that needs to look good, you'll love stainless steel 304's luxurious appearance. Its corrosion resistance makes it a good choice for stencils and anything subjected to corrosive environments like cookware, the outside of a vehicle, or outdoors.

Stainless steel bottle openers.

Stainless steel Cobra brake brackets.

In addition, its toughness and density makes stainless steel 304 a great choice for fighting robot armor or drum weapons.

Stainless steel butterfly with Basic Finish.


Stainless steel 304 is non-magnetic and is sometimes referred to as "18/8 stainless" because it typically contains about 18% chromium and 8% nickel.

Stainless steel trivet links.

Stainless steel number 8 with simulated bevel.

Keep in mind that parts ordered during the sale will take a little longer to ship than our regular orders. We make great prices possible during the sale by gathering up all sale orders and cutting them at the same time. We expect sale orders to start shipping around November 17.


Stainless steel wedding cake topper.

Don't wait! Get started by uploading your design to our online quoting system now.

Waterjet cutting image© Steve Brown Photography CC-BY-SA-3.0 


Here's an early heads up: Big Blue Saw will be having a sale Monday,  November  7 through Wednesday, November 9 on stainless 304 in 0.12" and 0.25" thickness. This is for  custom waterjet cut parts. Get your designs ready now.

Ian Ward wrote in recently to show us the wine cork trivet he made with custom parts from Big Blue Saw plus off the shelf hardware.

The metal links were waterjet cut by Big Blue Saw from 1/8 inch thick stainless steel 304 from Ian's design.

Ian says "The water jet cut parts saved me a lot of cutting, drilling and grinding, thanks."


Got a design or idea you would like to turn into real stainless steel parts? Read more about how Big Blue Saw works.

Rick Johnston was working on his  Factory Five Racing MK4 AC Cobra replica (shown above) and wanted an upgraded braking package. His solution: custom brackets waterjet cut from stainless steel by Big Blue Saw.

Once he's tested out the parts and worked through any bugs, Rick plans to make the designs public. For now, here's a sneak peek at the custom braking package partially assembled.



Rick gave us some technical details on the how and why of his design.

The design is modular and covers both the front and rear brakes. The outer bracket you see on the rear brakes is also used in the front. This is why there are 2 additional “outer brackets” (“L” shaped) in the part outlines [shown above].



This allows the mounting of front brake packages to the rear. Cobras are different than most production cars that the kit industry borrows parts from. Cobras have a typical front to rear weight balance of 55% - 45%. Additionally the center of gravity height is MUCH lower than a typical production car measuring approximately 15” in height. Also the tire Diameters remain quite large for such a low CG height. This means that this kit needs a lot more rear brake than the standard parts provide. My equations (not proven yet) should reduce the pedal force needed from around 150 lbs to about 40 lbs to lock all 4 wheels in a balanced manner (fronts locking slightly before the rears). I am working on another design very similar to this one, that would allow standard production 13” Mustang Cobra brake components to be used that would further reduce cost to builders.


And one more look at Rick's ride.



Note that when Rick ordered, he took advantage of our best tip for saving money on waterjet cutting: putting several designs into the same file. If you've got many parts all made from the same material and thickness, it's most cost effective to put them all into the same file before uploading them to the online quoting system.